The historian tells you what happened.

     The novelist will tell you what it felt like.

                                        -E.L. Doctorow

Alison's Newsletter on Writing & Publishing

Alison Taylor-BrownAcross oceans and centuries, my novels follow characters changed by events as drastic as a plague or as small as a thought. I love history, especially those periods, like the sixteenth century, that changed man’s entire way of thinking. I’ve spent years understanding this era, and my novel Line of Ascent is about a man and a woman caught in history’s grip.

My stories are important, but so are yours. I founded the Village Writing School to teach people how to write their stories in the most engaging way. When I’m speaking at a conference on the power of words or teaching a workshop on subtext, I’m thinking how important some of the stories in that audience may be.

Beyond writing and teaching, I try to be a good person because the greatest act of creation is to fashion a beautiful life.

Thinking Deeper: Themes and Gateways

In last week’s Village Writing School newsletter, I shared an article by Dan Blank in which, I believe, he really nails what it means to be a writer. Be the Gateway. Be the gateway through which people access experiences, characters, and the inspiration for... read more

Primary Research: The Day it All Went Right

Gasparo Contarini was a good guy in an age of corruption. He is one of my favorite secondary characters in Line of Ascent. Jake and Katharina stay with Contarini when they visit Venice, and I set several important scenes in his house. In planning this research trip, I... read more

Are Your Scenes Hiding Notes to Yourself?

I have six words on my mind. I’ve been mulling over these six words for two months and what they say about the writing process. They are six words that I cut from the first scene of Line of Ascent. The POV character, Jake, has just met his new colleague, Dr.... read more